Is there ongoing work to integrate iNaturalist with social media?

Hello iNatForum

We are writing from Vancouver Canada, getting ready to launch the first-ever BioBlitz of False Creek. Our prospective partners - [Hakai Institute] and [Nature Canada]- hope to launch the BioBlitz to coincide with IMPAC5 - the Fifth International Marine and Protected Areas Congress in September, 2022.

So here is the question for the Dev Team:

We have this idea that it would be very useful to have BioBlitzers be able to share their experiences, insights, and delights, as well as logging their data. In our way of thinking, kind of “iNaturalist Meets TikTok”.

We know this can be done separately, easily of course. But finding a way that connects the two activities - the deliberate acquisition of taxonomic data, and the sharing of the joy & meaningfulness of doing the Blitz: this would be wonderful if this could somehow be integrated.

Here is a draft presentation

…that may give you a better idea of what we’re after…essentially, to “gamify” the BioBlitz. We think this competitive aspect will help engage lots of people, eager to be outside, have fun…and be involved in important, meaningful work.

Is this a dumb question? Hope not! And we’d be delighted to discuss this with Forum contributors in case there are others who are on similar tracks.

Please feel free to reach out to me, Zaida, at falsecreekfriends […d0T…] org.

And thanks!

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I personally don’t think there’s a reason to make iNat even more “gamified” than how it is now, more focus should be on how to teach new users, not just how to attract them as it’s done pretty succesfully by bioblitzes, but they go in and out quickly, gamifiation often means iNat is advertized simplier than what it was and sometimes outright wrong, avoiding that would be hard with TikTok collaboration. So adding more pre-bioblitz activities in social media would play that role for you, trained users will get you so much more marine data than just many users (which is good too, of course).

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Wouldn’t an iNat project to meet those needs well enough? the Bioblitz events I’ve been to had their own projects showing the photos and observations along with leaderboards and graphs. Here is an example:

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/almaden-quicksilver-spring-2019-bioblitz

Or, do I misunderstand your aims?

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No dumb questions, and Welcome to the Forum! I’m an old fart, and don’t like gamifying things. However, I don’t know too much about new social media, such as Tiktok. Your presentation was compelling, although somewhat short on details. If you think it would work, it’s worth considering. I’m not a developer, so I don’t know what is possible, but the suggestion sounds interesting. I look forward to seeing what happens. A note - a lot of the folks who frequent the forum are kind of like me, so expect some blowback!
As an aside, I noticed that the top identifier on the screenshot was the late Greg Lasley. Old meets new?

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Ditto. It’s hard enough to maintain quality control of the records that are submitted now. I’d hate to see the site turn into some sort of play platform. If iNat goes that route, it might as well start selling pop-up ads.

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One of the things that we’ve done locally to “gamify” the observations is to create little separate or daily challenges. It makes the competitions a little more ‘community-based’ to your local naturalists rather than a whole iNat system-wide approach. It’s a bit more work for the organizers of the local/regional bioblitzes, but I think that’s a necessity when you want to engage your group of naturalists.

We’ll challenge participants to document at least 5 different insects, find a plant with a purple flower, document some animal tracks with a ruler, etc… Create some regionally appropriate badges and awards for the competitors/observers too!

Here’s an example on one of the bioblitzes we did in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with the daily challenges: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/fall-socially-distant-bioblitz-dfw-urban-ecosystem-2021/journal/55955
It was quite successful – over 1300 observers with over 28k observations! Lots of nature engagement! :)

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That is really neat! I think ‘gamifying’ means a different thing to me than it does to you and @Zaida . I see it more like getting to the top of some list, etc. It seems to have different meanings, which is why I tried not to be dismissive. If it seemed that was what I was saying, I apologise. I just don’t understand how modern social media works, and any way to get people involved is fine with me! So I’ll leave it up to the experts! As I said, I’m older - I don’t even have a smart phone, more of a dim phone (Blackberry Curve) so I’m out of my depth here.

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Gamifying probably means something different to me also. I think local bioblitzes and similar events can be organized however they need to be to generate interest, including making the event into a game, and the iNat platform can serve as the “playing field” for that. Similar to the City Nature Challenge which uses iNat as the place to log records but which is not organized by iNat staff.

I’m just wary of proposals to revise the iNat platform itself to make it more game-like.

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@sambiology this is an awesome project

thanks for the link

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I’m probably just saying what everybody else has said but in different words, but in my opinion, being able to change settings for an event/project on iNaturalist is the extent of where I think gamifying should go. With that being said, I think it’s possible for those settings to be altered even more, if that’s something that people wanted, but I think it really should end at just that, and not the actual site and it’s functionality.

I’ve never made my own project so I don’t know much about exactly how you change the settings for a project but just based on the fact that you can choose the settings at all says to me that you could achieve a more gamified state just through the project. Maybe that means more variation in what settings you can change or added concepts to the settings but I don’t have a clue about specifics. My point is just that it seems very possible for this to all take place only within the project or any other projects that people want to create with similar guidelines.

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